“ Bathroom Accessories „
Reader, meet Antonio C.
This is a slightly mind bending product from Alessi. It is a sturdy plastic figure of a male head and shoulders with arms and hands. The 'man' (Antonio) kindly holds your toilet roll and promises not to look whilst you are sat on the loo. The 'C', may then stand for considerate.
Alessi are an italian design company (from c.1922) that make cuter versions of normal kitchen (and now bathroom) utensils and things you would not otherwise notice. The majority of their products are made from stainless steel or sturdy brightly coloured plastic. They try to merge the high end design with quirky visual ideas (for me they make the William Morris adage that everything should be "either useful or beautiful" real, but go one further as their products tend to be both- functional and adorable). I have around 12 Alessi products and I have been impressed with the quality and finish of them all. Unlike Kosoil the German rival, once you get the products home you do not feel slightly let down.
If you decide to buy one, this toilet roll holder will set you back between £24.95 and £30. Possibly more as some boutiques and the more 'high end' designer focused online retailers will try to sell anything with an Alessi tag for prices so high you wonder if the boxes will contain a golden egg. I have seen Alessi Kettles go on ebay for £220. In this respect they are sought after and have developed a cult appeal in the last 20 years. Even on ebay it is rare to see anything as an auction listing going for any cheaper than the buy it now Alessi counterpart products. I am confident this will hold its price well.
Just as well, as if you would have told me even 12 months ago I would spend £27 on a toilet roll holder I would have tried to have you sectioned for insane thoughts and delusions.
*What do you get?*
Inside the box you get:
the head and shoulders
the piece that goes through the toilet roll (shaped like an egg timer)
a diagram that you can hold up against the wall and drill through so the dimensions are perfect (a VERY neat feature).
All you will need to own or buy already are two wall plugs. So you drill two holes (could br tricky if you have tiled walls? but the drilling is the hardest part), fit the wall plugs and put the screws in then you simply hook Antonio onto the screws.
Once Antonio is fitted, you discover another great feature (a really really imressive design feature) that the inside of Antonio's "hands" are MAGNETIC. Yes, readers: MAGNETIC. So, to change the toilet roll-- all you have to do is pull the toilet roll out of Antonio's hands by holding the empty roll and sliding it as if you were opening a drawer. Just pull. No more squeezing and aligning ! No more excuses for housemates who never change the loo roll!
To fit a new toilet roll you put the white roll insert inside the toilet roll then ush it inbetween Antonio's hands. The roll insert will be grabbed by the magnets and pulled into place.
*Worth the price?*
Simply because Alessi have gone the extra mile with the diagram that doubles as a scale drilling guide and the magnets inside Antonio's hands yes it is.
I have only seen this product on sale in yellow (Yellow Submarine Yellow), Blue (a sort of playdoh blue)- so the standard "bathroom colours". This co-ordinates perfectly with the other Alessi bathroom items such as the Merdolino Toilet Brush or Otto the Toothpaste Man (I kid you not). As it is fun and quirky, it will bring a smile to the faces of your guests and may lift your spirits if you are talking to God on the "Big white phone" (ie have your head down the loo).
This is really down to personal opinion- for me, I find the cartoon look of the product and the bright colour an advantage.
It is easy to change the rolls, looks great (again, my opinion), easy to fit after you have drilled the holes and put the wall plugs in, and easy to clean (wipe clean). I cannot see this would fade in a bright bathroom as the colour is not sprayed on or painted- it is sturdy plastic. And there are no sharp edges.
Thinking long and hard about this, I can imagine if you have young children, they will find it easy to pull the roll out of Antonio's hands and if they are feeling mischievous you may have a re-run of the Andrex advert in your bathroom where the toilet roll is flung around.
But, not all children would try this, and not all people with children even have toilet roll holders, never mind child proof ones. If this happens, the roll insert is on one piece and is large enough not to be classed as a 'small part', so it would just be the toilet roll going in the bath or being rolled down the hall you would have to worry about. (though you wouldnt leave a child in a bathroom unattended with water in the bath...). So, I'm getting into the hypothetical scenarios just to find a disadvantage.
As you can tell, I am clutching at straws trying to find a disadvantage. The price is an obvious disadvantage for some people- it is not essential to spend £25-30 on a toilet roll holder, but you do get what you pay for. I would normally have gone to Ikea and spent about £5 on a toilet roll holder if I had not seen this. But I'm glad I did pay the extra. When we trawled through ebay for toilet roll holders one bored slightly tipsy night the only other thing that made me look twice was a £900 Versace gold toilet roll holder.
And even now, I would rather talk to Antonio than Donatella, knowing I have saved £873.
The Alessi Company has their own website: the UK link is:
Verdict: Its a slightly odd purchase that has opened my eyes to the couture range and market of functional house products.